CAR T Cell Immunotherapy in Human and Veterinary Oncology: Changing the Odds Against Hematological Malignancies

Jonathan P. Mochel, Stephen C. Ekker, Chad M. Johannes, Albert E. Jergens, Karin Allenspach, Agnes Bourgois-Mochel, Michael Knouse, Sebastien Benzekry, Wesley Wierson, Amy K. LeBlanc, Saad S. Kenderian

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The advent of the genome editing era brings forth the promise of adoptive cell transfer using engineered chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells for targeted cancer therapy. CAR T cell immunotherapy is probably one of the most encouraging developments for the treatment of hematological malignancies. In 2017, two CAR T cell therapies were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration: one for the treatment of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and the other for adult patients with advanced lymphomas. However, despite significant progress in the area, CAR T cell therapy is still in its early days and faces significant challenges, including the complexity and costs associated with the technology. B cell lymphoma is the most common hematopoietic cancer in dogs, with an incidence approaching 0.1% and a total of 20–100 cases per 100,000 individuals. It is a widely accepted naturally occurring model for human non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Current treatment is with combination chemotherapy protocols, which prolong life for less than a year in canines and are associated with severe dose-limiting side effects, such as gastrointestinal and bone marrow toxicity. To date, one canine study generated CAR T cells by transfection of mRNA for CAR domain expression. While this was shown to provide a transient anti-tumor activity, results were modest, indicating that stable, genomic integration of CAR modules is required in order to achieve lasting therapeutic benefit. This commentary summarizes the current state of knowledge on CAR T cell immunotherapy in human medicine and its potential applications in animal health, while discussing the potential of the canine model as a translational system for immuno-oncology research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalAAPS Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • CAR T cell
  • One Health
  • lymphoma
  • ommuno-oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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